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Former friends, turned bitter rivals, Google and Apple now own a virtually duopoly on the U.S. smart phone market.  (Source: Flickr)

RIM appears to be fading fast with the BlackBerry smart phone brand dropping over half its U.S. market share over the last year. RIM is rumored to be considering pushing a new OS -- QNX -- to its smart phones in a bid to revitalize them.  (Source: Smart Phone Mag.)

Nokia and Microsoft are looking to Windows Phone 7.1 "Mango" to revitalize their smart phone sales.  (Source: Engadget)

HP courteously recused itself from the market, to webOS fans' chagrin. The departure leaves Microsoft, RIM, Apple, and Google as the only remaining major OS makers.  (Source: Mobile Knots)

  (Source: NPD Group)
Google solidifies its lead, Apple remains close behind

When it comes to veteran market research firm NPD Group, Inc., the latest report [press release] on smartphones is more good news for two major players and more very bad news for a third.

I. Google and Apple's Gains are RIM, Microsoft's Losses

For Google, Inc. (GOOG) and Apple, Inc. (AAPL) the news is happy.  Google rose from a 33 percent market share in Q2 2010 to a 52 percent market share in Q2 2011 -- a 57.6 percent increase in market share which came despite its legal troubles [1][2][3][4][5].  Apple, resigned for now to play second fiddle to Google grew from 22 percent to 29 percent -- a 31.8 percent increase in market share.

The bad news came for Waterloo, Ontario-based Research in Motion (TSE:RIM) who saw its U.S. market share drop from 28 percent to 11 percent -- a 60.7 percent decline.  In the last year the phone maker has lost nearly half its stock value as well.  

RIM appears to be fading fast.  Things look increasingly bleak for the company, which is rumored to be preparing to push its new operating system -- QNX -- into the smartphone market in a desperate revitalization bid.  It's easy to draw analogies between RIM of today and Palm, Inc. at the start of the webOS era -- beloved by some loyal customers, but increasingly scorned by the masses.  The similarities run deep in that both companies followed the largely defunct first-party OS model, a sluggish pace of handset releases, and inferior hardware.

The study also showed troublesome signs for Microsoft Corp. (MSFT).  Windows Mobile held approximately 10 percent of the U.S. market last year.  But by this year its successor, Windows Phone 7, had only accrued approximately 1 percent of the market, while Windows Mobile hung on to 4 percent of the market.  In other words, Microsoft saw its cumulative market share halved.

However, unlike RIM, Microsoft has deep pockets to try to revitalize its sales.  And with the upcoming launch of WP7's first major OS and hardware refresh, Mango, which seems to have strong support from a number of top third party handset makers, Microsoft looks poised to turn the corner and become a viable third place competitor.

II. Motorola Dips, Faces Puzzling Outlook

In terms of individual phone manufacturers, the biggest loser was recent Google purchase Motorola Mobility, Inc. (MMI).  Motorola saw its total market share drop from 15 percent to 12 percent, and its share of the Android handset market drop from 44 percent to 22 percent.

It saw its market share gobbled up by Android rivals LG Electronics (SEO:066570) and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (SEO:005930).

NPD analyst Ross Rubin was enthusiastic about Google's acquisition, though, which he says is beneficial to Android as a whole.  He comments, "Google's acquisition of Motorola shifts the balance of power in the handset-patent conflict between Google and its operating system competitors. Android's momentum has made for a large pie that is attractive to Motorola’s Android rivals, even if they must compete with their operating system developer."

He adds, "Much as it did in the feature phone market in the RAZR era, Motorola is experiencing increased competition from Samsung and LG in the smartphone market. Closer ties to the heart of Android can help inspire new paths to differentiation."

Of course, the Google acquisition of Motorola Mobility appears to have been primarily motivated from an intellectual property standpoint, so it remains unclear whether it will give choose to give unique advantages to its first party feature phones at its third-party partners' expense.

III. What Will the Market Look Like Next Year?

Overall there's still a great deal of uncertainty in the market.  Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ) did refine the picture a bit, but voluntarily removing itself (and the ex-Palm webOS unit) from the smart phone market.  

Looking ahead, though, it remains to be seen whether RIM will find a way to revitalize itself or will become an acquisition target for one of the more successful or deeper-pocketed phone makers.  Don't be surprised if RIM has dropped even further in market share next year -- or has thrown its weight behind Android or Windows Phone 7.

But the biggest two outstanding questions are how Mango will be received and what will be the outcome of the Apple-Android legal war.  The outcome of those two factors should play a critical role in determining what the market looks like next August, when we sit back and look at the results of Q2 2012.

In the wild card category Intel Corp. (INTC) still has high hopes for Meego and Mozilla is cooking up a smartphone operating system of its own.  Don't get your hopes up that either of these projects will have generated even enough market share to earn a blip on next year's report, though.



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RE: RIM's demise from what?
By Pirks on 8/23/2011 1:44:04 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
To you, anyone that likes anything that isnt the products you latched your digital teeth into is a "fanboy".
No, to me Mick seems like a dumb fanboy because he writes stupid shit about RIM "demise" while NOT EVEN KNOWING SHIT about the new devices RIM just released.

If Mick wrote "I worked with BB7 for a while and this is why I think RIM demise is coming even with those devices" THEN I'd have no beef with Mick. Then it would be proper objective post.

But in current form? No. Mick is bashing BB 6 and tells us RIM demise is coming, all while BB 7 is out there and rocking the market, just read the posts on forums form people considering switching back to BB7 from Android or iPhone.

I own a BB7 device and I read different forums, not only the iPhone or Android ones. To me it's clear that RIM is onto something, and to Mick all there is just the old clunky BB6 handsets. Fine, let Mick bash RIM because he's clueless, but why you think it makes me RIM fanboy? Because I bought BB7 device and hence I KNOW (unlike clueless Mick) what I'm talking about?

Grow up retro, you have no argument here. The moment Mick reviews some BB7 stuff and starts writing posts considering the NEW devices too - then I'll probably stop calling him biased fanboy.
quote:
Fail, fail, fail, fail, resounding succuess is not a pattern that is likely
Hahaha, now you sound like a delusional fanboy too. Judging by financials and profits on a world wide markets RIM's path looks more like "hit, smash hit, smash hit, hit, stumble, decline in US but growth elsewhere, hit? (possibly maybe :) with BB7".

So you too think Apple ads matter? And you too think that market share in the US is EVERYTHING? I said and I say again - GROW. UP.

Thank you.


RE: RIM's demise from what?
By retrospooty on 8/23/2011 2:04:44 PM , Rating: 2
"Fine, let Mick bash RIM because he's clueless, but why you think it makes me RIM fanboy"

Why ? LOL, are you really asking that question? You aggressively jump onto any thread where anyone says anything at all negative about RIMM. The very fact that you are all bent out of shape because Mick mereley suggests RIMM's days are numbered because their products suck PROVES that you are a hopeless fanboy. Normal people don't give a crap if someone else doesn't like the company that makes their phone... and you are telling me to grow up? Get a grip man.

And just to add to the content. Mick is right. Blackberries have been obsolete for 4 years now. Consumers figured it out a few years ago, and corporations are coming to that conclusion as well. Why buy the $20 per user per month cow when MS gives you all the milk you can drink for free?

RIMM's days are numbered. That cash cow BB service is obsolete, and without that, they are left with only thier phones, which suck when compared to the competition.

Face it... Accept it... Live with it...


RE: RIM's demise from what?
By Pirks on 8/23/2011 2:26:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The very fact that you are all bent out of shape because Mick mereley suggests RIMM's days are numbered because their products suck PROVES that you are a hopeless fanboy.
Nah, it's more like Mick is baselessly bashing RIM whenever he has a chance, and I just point at his mistakes, I'm explaining why and how he is biased. What's the problem with pointing at mistakes of others? Why does it make you a fanboy? If you bashed WP7 and I pointed out your mistakes and explained why and how your bashing is undeserved - will this make me WP7 fanboy too?
quote:
they are left with only thier phones, which suck when compared to the competition
Not everyone agrees with you, however. Some reviewers are talking rather positive about new BB phones, for example this review of the phone I bought a few days ago: http://crackberry.com/blackberry-torch-9850-9860-r... - I can't say it's a bad phone consumers won't like even if I were an Apple fanboy. There's a lot to like about these new phones so your RIM bashing has no ground at the moment. It made sense back in the days of the old and slow BB 6 devices but not today for sure.


RE: RIM's demise from what?
By retrospooty on 8/23/2011 3:02:36 PM , Rating: 2
I hope its nice, I kinda doubt it, but I am open to try it myself. And if you don't mind, I will wait for a review from a site without the domain name crackberry for an unbiased review. LOL


RE: RIM's demise from what?
By Pirks on 8/23/2011 3:31:15 PM , Rating: 2
Fair enough. Let's see how Anand, Engadget, Ars and other reviewers will treat this new sweet Torch 9860. For now I enjoy it and Mick haven't seen it or any other BB7 device, so I'll bash his stupid posts anyway :))) When he tries that phone, when he gets PRACTICAL experience and starts to get a grasp of the things he tries to write about - then I'll change my tune, hehe.

It's all about bashing the things you tried yourself , not the things you THINK you know about by looking at their pics online, just like Mick does with BB :) Very important difference I think.


RE: RIM's demise from what?
By retrospooty on 8/23/2011 7:22:35 PM , Rating: 2
OK, so you tell me then... What does this phone do that the rest of the industry didnt do already 2-3 years ago? Anything? Or is RIMM just catching up?


RE: RIM's demise from what?
By Pirks on 8/23/2011 8:07:50 PM , Rating: 2
I guess it delivers something special to those enterprise customers that's been buying RIM solutions all these years, you know, BES, BIS, BBM and such.


RE: RIM's demise from what?
By retrospooty on 8/23/2011 8:26:53 PM , Rating: 2
So, in other words it doesnt do anything that the others were doing 2-3 years ago.

as far as the Blackberry service, it is totally obsolete. MS gives mobile email away for free with EAS, where BB charges companies $20 per user per month... Thus the reason IT depts have been turning away from Blackberry.

Now the important question... Does your blackberry support EAS like all other phones? Or is it still in hte stone ages?


RE: RIM's demise from what?
By Pirks on 8/23/2011 8:54:55 PM , Rating: 2
BBM, BIS and BES weren't on the other phones 3 years ago, so you're lying here.

Now the important question... Why would you need a battery and data sucking constant-connection EAS when BB connectionless method via NOC is much less battery draining and more data efficient?


RE: RIM's demise from what?
By retrospooty on 8/24/2011 7:58:33 AM , Rating: 2
Typical Pirks... When confronted, avoid, evade and distract.

"BBM, BIS and BES weren't on the other phones 3 years ago, so you're lying here."

1. I never said that the other phones had BB services, what I implied is that BB services are obsoleted by EAS and EAS is free at that
2. Do you really want to compare battery life on all phones? EAS is not a problem.
3. You never answered the issue with BB service costing $20 per month while EAS is free.
4. To your other post about BB being more reliable. There have been sevearl high profile BB outages where BB was out and all other were offline. IF you want to Cherry pick data, so can I.
5. Again, you never responded to what the brand new late 2011 model Blackberries have that iphone, android and even WebOS all had 2-3 years ago. Answer = NOTHING! (other than the obsolete BB service which is NOT a positive, its a negative)


RE: RIM's demise from what?
By Pirks on 8/24/2011 12:55:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
EAS is not a problem
http://www.techatplay.com/?p=482 thinks otherwise
quote:
You never answered the issue with BB service costing $20 per month while EAS is free
You never answered the issue with BB service being more data traffic and battery life saving than EAS.
quote:
what the brand new late 2011 model Blackberries have that iphone, android and even WebOS all had 2-3 years ago. Answer = NOTHING
Show me BBM in a phone 3 years ago, or else you're a liar.
quote:
obsolete BB service which is NOT a positive, its a negative
If BBM is negative, why Apple ripped it off recently into their own BBM-like iMessage service?
quote:
BB services are obsoleted by EAS and EAS is free at that
Hehe, EAS is free for a reason - free products are lousy ones, and paid are better, such is the case with battery and data efficiency of non-free BB services.


RE: RIM's demise from what?
By retrospooty on 8/24/2011 6:01:14 PM , Rating: 2
my god man, you are either clueless, or just totally unwilling to admit you are wrong.

Thank you for not listening, reading, or comprehending a damn thing. Yes, I must be a liar for TWICE not saying anything at all what you say I said.

1. 89% of the smartphones sold in the world today use EAS and dont have battery issues.

2. Again (again) I didnt say BBM was in competing phones. I said its obsolete.Corporate/Exchange EMAIL, has been available for phones via EAS since Exchange 2003 came out, thus obsoleting BB serice.

3. EAS is not "free" per say, its part of exchange which is already quite expensive for the user CAL's etc etc. You just dont have to pay extra for it like you do for BB ... This makes BBM a negative... cow, milk, free etc, remember?

But thank you for proving how clueless you are. Its now clear that you are more interested in not being proven wrong than you are in facts or even openmindedness. Also, I know you have to have the last word so go for it , its yours.


RE: RIM's demise from what?
By Pirks on 8/24/2011 8:34:44 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah of course if they have not as good battery life as BB phones they "don't have issues", is that right?

I see you don't even know what BBM is if you compare it to email. This is pretty dumb you know, to compare chat service to email :)))


RE: RIM's demise from what?
By Pirks on 8/24/2011 2:25:41 AM , Rating: 2
And yet another important question for retro man here: why would you choose unreliable phones that go down the moment minor disaster strikes when you can choose invincible BB handset that works during disasters when all the other phones are dead? Read this: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-23/blackberr...

How do you like this one, RIM hater? I see you're keeping quiet now. Good. One more clueless RIM hater down, call it a day :)))


RE: RIM's demise from what?
By retrospooty on 8/24/2011 9:55:32 AM , Rating: 2
On 2nd thought lets analyze this... =)

Basically, what happened here is that phone services were down and data was up. This is 100% dependant on the carrier, not the phone or the email serivce. This data would have to be up for either BB or EAS. Your whole point is moot. If the best you can come up with is that, then you fail, because there have been several high profile BB outages where others were up. In other words, BB adds a level of potential failure. IF Phone/voice is down, then noone work. If data is down, then none work. IF data is up, BB still has potential to be down, becasue it relies on RIMM. As long as the cellular carrier has data, then EAS is running, becase it talks directly from your mail server to the internet, without anyone (RIMM) in the middle (collecting money to add nothing of value).


RE: RIM's demise from what?
By Pirks on 8/24/2011 1:00:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
collecting money to add nothing of value
http://www.techatplay.com/?p=482 thinks otherwise. If RIM indeed collected money for nothing and EAS was just as good as BB while being free then RIM would never get as many customers as they did.


RE: RIM's demise from what?
By retrospooty on 8/24/2011 6:09:51 PM , Rating: 2
ooooh... a link, that PROVES it.

LOL

Anyhow, RIMM, once upon a time, had a great email service that built them into a huge brand name and businesses flocked to them. It took many years after it was out for EAS to start to take hold. You know how slow IT depts are to make changes. That swing began slowly in 2005, 2006 and is in full swing today as large IT depts dump their BB service left and right in favor of a free service that has the same result. Let me spell it out for you.

EAS setup - free
Mail server > internet > mobile phone
end result - mobile mail, calendar, contacts etc.

BB setup - $20 per user per month
Mail server > BB enterprise server > internet > RIMM > mobile phone
end result - mobile mail, calendar, contacts etc.
On top of that, they are just NOW getting phones that have features that other phones/OS's had 2-3 years ago.

Simple huh? Any questions?


RE: RIM's demise from what?
By Pirks on 8/24/2011 8:24:32 PM , Rating: 2
A link that PROVES that BB solution provides better battery life and is less data traffic hungry? And you are so happy about it? Well... I guess if you are happy about that then I am happy too :) Case closed.
quote:
they are just NOW getting phones that have features that other phones/OS's had 2-3 years ago
I just realized that you know nothing about what BBM is and why it has nothing in common with email. Well, whatever. You definitely have no will to learn about it and that's fine. I'm okay to argue a little with uneducated, no problem with that. But case closed like you said, so bye :)


RE: RIM's demise from what?
By retrospooty on 8/25/2011 9:03:06 AM , Rating: 2
okeedokee... I got my Blackberry acronyms wrong... BFD, that doesnt change anything. If you are seriously putting up thier chat service as a thing that other phones didnt have 2-3 years ago then you are sadly mistaken. Chat has been around on phones for a long time. IF you are putting up BBM specifically as something that wasnt on other phones, well of course not. Its thier own chat service.

Whatever man, enjoy your phone, I am glad you like it. I have zero understanding on why you would buy it, unless your company had a BB mail server and required it, AND paid you back, but that is your choice.


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